First, it’s important to point out that Jordan is amazingly good at holing birdie putts. Jordan’s finished in the top 3 at birdie conversion percentage in four of the last six years. His average ranking over that time was eighth. He’s also consistently ranked in the top 3 on the PGA Tour in putting between 15 and 25 feet.
So what’s Jordan doing well on those longer birdie putts that he’s not on the shorter par putts?
Here’s Jordan lining up a couple of long birdie putts that he ends up making.
Look at how much he's moving. Feet moving, looking at the hole, getting all that nervous energy out until he looks nice and loose. When he's ready to go, there's quick a forward press and then he pulls the trigger.
Now, here's Spieth on a couple shorter putts he ends up missing.
Look how much less he's moving. He looks so stiff, almost like he's frozen. All that nervous tension has nowhere to go because he's not moving around like he was on the longer putts, so when he pulls the trigger, it all comes out at onceIt's especially stark when you place his mannerisms on longer putts vs. shorter putts alongside one another. On the left, when Spieth is putting from his favorite birdie zone, you can see that he's constantly moving. On the right, he's so still it looks like the frame is frozen (it's not).
Occasionally you can see Spieth work around this by looking at the hole on short putts, and it's a decent solution to the problem.
Here he is at the Ryder Cup. You can see him almost freeze again, but then he looks up at the hole at the last moment before making his stroke. It gives him that little bit of movement that he needs, which helps him knock it in.
So what does Jordan need to do? And what can you learn if you have the same problem?
Jordan needs to force himself to move around before he pulls the trigger on those shorter putts, the same way you’d waggle a club before a full shot. Don’t just stand there; move your feet, move your head, allow all that nervous energy to escape, then when you’re ready quickly pull the trigger — but keep moving every step until you do.
Jordan needs to move around more, and if you’re struggling on short putts, you should try it, too.